Keeping Cool in the Kitchen
It’s that time of the year when temperatures start high in the morning and keep climbing all day. Turning on the oven only makes things worse, heating up not just your appliances but your entire kitchen as well, with the heat spilling over into adjoining rooms.
When you can’t stand the heat but can’t leave the kitchen, that’s when you need cooking tools that will help you get food on the table without generating too much heat, and let you cut down on prep, cooking, and cleanup time. Here’s a collection of kitchen tools that can make food prep quicker and cooler, and help you create yummy meals and snacks without producing too much heat.
Non-Dairy Milk Maker
You can get protein from plenty of other sources besides meat. For example, almonds provide protein, fiber, and such nutrients as magnesium and vitamin E. And with the ChefWave Milkmade Non-Dairy Milk Maker, you can turn a handful of almonds, cashews, or macadamia nuts—or even some oats or coconut—into a glass of non-dairy milk. No need to soak the nuts for hours and strain them afterwards. Just add the water and nuts, push the button, and the ChefWave does the rest. It even has an auto-clean feature, and you can preprogram the appliance to start at a certain time. Available on Amazon .
Using a blender can really speed up prep, and a professional-grade blender is sturdy enough to handle anything you toss its way. The Vitamix 7500 Blender has a 64-ounce low-profile container that fits comfortably under most kitchen cabinets, but it still offers plenty of power. The 2.2-horsepower motor, hardened stainless steel blades, and 10 speeds make it easy to chop, grind, blend, and emulsify. Friction heat from the blades can bring ingredients from cold to steaming hot in 6 minutes, but it’s also great for making frozen desserts like raspberry ice cream or orange sorbet, and the pulse feature is perfect for making salsa. We love this Vitamix model so much that it’s on our list of the best blenders for crushing ice. Available on Amazon .
Cordless Portable Blender
When you’re trying to avoid the kitchen altogether, take the BlenderX Cordless Portable Blender out to your backyard to make margaritas, smoothies, and slushies. It can crush standard ice cubes and also blend chunks of dry and frozen fruits and veggies. The high-power blender is battery operated and has a stainless steel motor base, and its 20-ounce BPA-free jar is topped by a travel lid with drinking spout. The blender’s waterproof storage bag has handles for easy transport. Available on Amazon .
Rice Cooker and Warmer
Rice is a staple of many quick and easy meals, but it can be tough to get right, and boiling all that water can quickly heat up the kitchen. Enter the Zojirushi Rice Cooker, which makes a perfect pot of rice (up to 10 cups) every time. It has settings for white and brown rice, a steam setting for veggies and protein, and a cake setting that’s ideal for sponge cake and cheesecakes. The LCD display includes a clock and timer, the exterior is made of easy-to-clean stainless steel, and the inner cooking pan has a nonstick coating. Plus, the retractable power cord makes the rice cooker easy to store. It’s no wonder Zojirushi tops our list of the very best rice makers. Available on Amazon .
Rapid Heat Stainless Steel Fry Pan
In hot weather, you don’t want to stand over a frying pan any longer than absolutely necessary. The 10-inch covered All-Clad D3 Frying Pan has an aluminum core so it heats up rapidly, and its 18/10 stainless steel distributes heat evenly. The pan can be used on any type of cooktop (gas, electric, ceramic, and induction) and is even broiler- and oven-safe up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. The pan and lid are both dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is a breeze. That’s why this All-Clad pan is on our list of the best frying pan options. Available on Amazon .
Nonstick Frying Pan
A less expensive frying pan option is the Koch Systeme CS Store 11” Copper Skillet. It heats quickly and distributes the heat evenly, eliminating hot spots and helping food to cook thoroughly. The nonstick coating is easy to clean and resists chipping, flaking, and peeling, and the ergonomic stainless steel handle remains cool when you’re cooking. Available on Amazon .
Related: How to Clean Burnt Pans
Hot/Cold Coffee and Tea Maker
If you’re a true coffee lover, summertime heat doesn’t affect your need for that daily cup of joe. But with the Braun MultiServe Coffee Maker, you have options: The appliance makes either hot or iced coffee, or even tea. With the touch of a button, you can choose one of four settings: over ice, light, gold, or bold. The MultiServe dial lets you choose your brewing size—a whole carafe, a half carafe, or one of five serving settings from a single cup to a travel mug (5 ounce, 8 ounce, 12 ounce, 16 ounce, or 20 ounce). The Braun MultiServe takes top honors on our list of the best two-way coffee makers. Available on Amazon
Convenient Hot/Cold Foam Milk Frother
The Instant Pot Milk Frother is the perfect companion for your coffee and iced tea. It can make cold foam, warm foam, and thick foam for cappuccinos, lattes, cold brews, iced coffees, and other brewed treats. It can also warm without foaming, so it’s perfect for hot chocolate. The frother is quick and easy to use, and it’s also whisper quiet. The side handle and exterior are cool to the touch, and overheat protection and an auto-off feature keep everyone safe. Plus, it’s easy to clean and dishwasher-safe. Available from Walmart .
Multipurpose Kitchen Utensils
Meal prep is a lot easier with the right kitchen utensils. This problem-solving five-piece set from Dreamfarm contains a Spadle (a scraping spoon that turns into a ladle), a Holey Spadle (slotted spoon/ladle and pasta server), a Chopula (flexible chopping spatula), a Supoon (silicone scraping spoon), and a Mini Supoon (silicone jar spoon). Made of nylon and silicone, these utensils won’t scratch your pots and pans, and won’t break. They’re BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, and are available in red, black, or a bundle of assorted colors. We love these fun, multifunctional tools by Dreamfarm as well as the company’s pizza scissors, which made our list of the best pizza cutters. Available on Amazon .
Safe Slice Mandoline
Slicing and dicing is safe and easy with the Dash Safe Slice Mandoline, designed so your fingers never touch the blades. The mandoline provides more than 30 different cuts, including thin slice, thick slice, small dice, big dice, matchstick, and julienne. It’s easy to operate: Snap the legs in place, choose the slice thickness on the dial, and then press down to slice. The mandoline is made of plastic with a stainless steel blade and folds flat for compact storage. It comes with a convenient brush for cleaning the blades. Available on Amazon .
Battery-Operated Spice Grinder
When it’s hot out, the more you move, the hotter you get. With the FinaMill Battery-Operated Spice Grinder, you’ll be able to whip up flavorful dishes while keeping physical effort to a minimum. The ergonomic design allows for one-handed operation at the push of a button, and three AA batteries power the motor. Interchangeable BPA-free pods hold the spices, and it’s easy to change the settings from fine to coarse. Available on Amazon.
Electric Egg Cooker
Omelets with herbs fresh from the garden, tangy salads—summertime brings out the best in eggs. Unfortunately, boiling a few eggs or frying up an omelet will definitely heat up your kitchen. The Chefman Electric Egg Cooker offers a better alternative, allowing you to boil, poach, or steam up to six eggs in just a few minutes. Simply fill the container with water using the provided measuring cup, then place your eggs in the egg tray, omelet tray, or poaching tray, depending on your preference. The eggs cook faster than they would using traditional methods, and the buzzer lets you know when they’re done. The egg cooker can also be used to steam veggies. Available on Amazon .
Related: 5 Things to Do With Egg Cartons
This set of two Rabbit Freezable Glasses will keep your beer or wine—or even iced tea or soda—cold without ice. Here’s how they work: Freeze the empty glasses for 4 hours, and then fill each one with up to 12 ounces of beer, wine, or soda to keep your beverage cool for several hours. A comfortable silicone sleeve makes the glasses perfect for outdoor use and protects your hands from the cold. If your tastes tend toward more potent potables, Rabbit also makes freezable whiskey glasses. Available on Amazon .
Compact Air Fryer
If you love crispy food but not the idea of standing over a hot pot of sizzling oil, check out the Philips Compact Air Fryer. Not only is the appliance quick and efficient, but it also uses little to no oil, with up to 90 percent less fat. This is the compact version of the XL Philips Air Fryer that’s on our list of best large air fryers. With a 4.1-liter capacity, it’s smaller than its big brother, but it will still produce food that’s crunchy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. Its rapid air technology is perfect for fries and chicken, but it can also bake, grill, roast, and even toast your food. Available on Amazon .
If you’re trying to avoid turning on the oven, the De’Longhi Livenza 9-in-1 Air Fry Convection Toaster Oven offers a cooler alternative. It can preheat up to 60 percent faster than a regular oven, and thanks to its heat lock system, the glass door emits up to 30 percent less heat, which helps keep your kitchen cooler. The oven has nine presets: air fry, toast, bake, convection, broil/grill, warm, reheat, cookies, and pizza. It’s compact yet big enough to hold an entire chicken and comes with a variety of accessories, including an air frying basket, bake pan, pizza pan, wire rack, and crumb tray. Available on Amazon.
Large Digital Countertop Oven
Cut the kitchen heat and increase your food flexibility with the Ninja Foodi XL Pro Air Oven, which has two separate racks so you can, for example, cook a large roast while you air fry a basket of veggies, or even bake two 12-inch pizzas at the same time. The oven has 10 functions: air fry, air roast, bake, whole roast, broil, toast, bagel, dehydrate, reheat, and pizza. It can preheat in just 90 seconds and cooks 30 percent faster than a traditional convection oven. Also, the air fry function uses 75 percent less fat. It’s no surprise that this oven made our list of the best air fryer toaster ovens for crisping your dinner. Available on Amazon.
Steam Oven With Optional Meal Kits
If you want an even easier cooking option, the Tovala Gen 2 Smart Steam Oven gives you the option of making your own meals or purchasing the company’s meal kits. The oven can toast, bake, broil, steam, or reheat, and it comes with accessories including a sheet tray, steamer cover, and a measuring cup for pouring in the water for the steam function. You can use the oven’s manual controls, but there’s also a free app with recipes, so you can prep the food then let the oven take over to cook it to perfection. You can even scan barcodes of select groceries and the oven will cook them properly at the touch of a button.
If you opt for the Tovala meal plan, you’ll get a selection that varies each week, with dishes like Salisbury steak meatballs with mashed potatoes and crispy onions, or almond-crusted trout with spinach currant quinoa and maple Dijon drizzle. Whether you cook your own meals or use the Tovala meal kits, you can control the oven via your smartphone, which means you don’t even have to be in the kitchen. Available on Amazon.
Belgian Waffle Maker
Belgian waffles aren’t just for breakfast anymore! Savory as well as dessert varieties make this easy-to-prep morning staple great at any time of day. The All-Clad Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker lets you cook a filling meal without having to turn on the oven, and as a bonus, its handle stays cool to the touch. The steam-release system ensures that the waffles are light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Also, seven shade/browning selections ensure the perfect waffle for every preference, and there are extra-deep pockets to hold all of your favorite toppings. Indicator lights let you know when it’s time to pour the batter and when the waffles are ready to eat, and a nonstick coating makes the waffle maker easy to clean. We love this appliance so much that it is on our list of the best waffle makers. Available on Amazon .
The only thing worse than being stuck in a hot kitchen is having to smell foul odors while you’re in there. Fortunately, the Shark Air Purifier 6 can quickly remove household odors from your kitchen. An odor guard on the filter protects against unpleasant smells from cooking and cleaning products. Thanks to its six micro fans, this air purifier is ideal for large spaces without being too loud. The Clean Sense IQ automatically adjusts depending on the ambient air quality and provides real-time air quality updates. It will even let you know the time remaining before the air is thoroughly cleaned. Available on Amazon .
Air Purifier and Fan
If you want your air cool and pure, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde Smart Tower Air Purifier does both. This is an upgraded version of the Dyson Pure Cool Link on our list of best air purifiers for mold. The 360-degree air filtration system also detects, traps, and destroys formaldehyde, which can be present in paper products, dishwashing liquids, gas stoves, composite wood products (like wood floors), and a variety of other items. The purifier automatically adjusts to changes in the air quality and provides status updates via its LCD screen or your smartphone using the Dyson Link app. In addition, the fan feature can be activated to not only purify your air, but also keep you cool while you’re in the kitchen. Available from Best Buy.
If you want a clean floor but would rather not have to vacuum it yourself, let the Bissell CleanView Connect Robot Vacuum do it for you. It’s smart enough to distinguish between hard floors and rugs or carpeting, and it adjusts suction accordingly. A low profile—it’s less than 3.5 inches high—means it can fit under furniture, and its dual edge sweep brushes and rotating brush roll capture debris in your kitchen for up to 100 minutes before it needs to be charged. Connect the robot vacuum with the Bissell Connect App and you can schedule when you want the vacuum to operate. Available on Amazon .
Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum and Mop
If you want to avoid vacuuming and/or mopping your hot kitchen and also aren’t crazy about having to empty the dustbin, the yeedi Vac Station can take all of these chores off your hands. It can vacuum and mop at the same time, and the carpet detection sensor makes sure it doesn’t mop your rugs and carpeted areas. When the robot finishes, the self-empty station cleans the bin, and it holds so much debris that you won’t need to empty the station for a month. Plus, use the yeedi app on your smartphone to schedule cleanings and create targeted areas to avoid or clean with the long-lasting 200-minute battery. Available on Amazon.
Perfect Portion Freezer Tray
One way to stay out of the kitchen when it’s just too hot to cook is to prepare and freeze food ahead of time. Souper Cubes make it easy to freeze your meals in perfect portions, so you can microwave them at mealtime or bake them in the oven at temps up to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. (Note: While the trays can go in the oven, the lids are not oven-safe.) If you prefer, you can pop the frozen cube out of the tray and heat it in the oven or on the stovetop as you normally would. Souper Cube trays are wonderful for soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, and even cookie dough. They’re made of 100 percent food-grade silicone and are BPA-free, and trays and lids are dishwasher-safe. Available on Amazon .
Vacuum Sealing and Food Preservation System
Another great help for make-ahead meals is the FoodSaver Multiuse Vacuum Sealing and Food Preservation System. The heat seal strip can keep frozen food fresh up to five times longer while preventing freezer burn, and the handheld vacuum sealer keeps food fresher in the refrigerator and pantry as well. Four custom settings—pulse, marinate, moist, and dry—ensure the best seal for any type of food, and a vacuum button removes the air from the bag and seals it. The roll storage has a built-in cutter that lets you customize the size of each bag. Available on Amazon .
Easy-Pour Mixing Bowl With Measurements
Prep a little faster with the Bamboozle SustainaBOWL, which has a base that tilts smoothly for easier and neater pouring. Each bowl in this set of three has measurement markings so you can quickly gauge what you’re adding to the mix, and an ergonomic handle makes the bowls comfortable to hold. They’re sturdy as well as dishwasher- and microwave-safe, but if you do decide to throw them out, they’ll biodegrade in a matter of years. Available on Amazon.
Microwave Soup/Noodle/Pasta Bowl
Some nights, you just want to heat up a little soup and call it a day. But soup can be messy, and then you have to spend time in the hot kitchen cleaning up the splatter and the dirty dishes. With the Sistema Microwave Collection Noodle Bowl, however, cleanup is quick and easy. Just pour soup, noodles, pasta, stew—whatever you’d like—into the container, heat it up in the microwave, and eat your meal right out of the bowl. The lid has a steam release vent so you don’t have to worry about splatters, and both bowl and lid are phthalate- and BPA-free, and dishwasher-safe. Available on Amazon .
Clear Storage Containers
Keeping your pantry staples organized and easy to access can reduce your time in the kitchen. Ditch your flimsy, stained plastic containers and upgrade to sturdy and sparkling Rubbermaid Brilliance Pantry Organization and Food Storage Containers. They have a crystal-clear design and are airtight (even with liquids), and they stack to save space. Because they’re transparent and stackable, it’s easier to store and quickly retrieve cereal, grains, sugar, flour, nuts, and other staples. The containers and lids resist stains and odors, and are dishwasher-safe. Available on Amazon .
Sweat Resistant Earbuds
When you absolutely can’t avoid the hot kitchen, take your mind off your chores with these Beats Studio Buds Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds. While you’re working, you can listen to your favorite songs or a podcast, and because the earbuds are sweat- and water-resistant, you can rest assured that these sturdy earbuds will stand up to it all. They provide up to 8 hours of listening time, and up to 24 hours when combined with the charging case. Their built-in microphones allow you to make phone calls and interact with your voice assistant. Available on Amazon.
Fingerprint-Proof Trash Can
When you’re in a hurry to get out of the kitchen, stopping to empty and clean the trash can is the last thing you want to do. The Brabantia Touch 16-Gallon Trash Can is extra large, so you won’t have to empty it as often, and its soft-touch closure makes it easy to operate, even when your hands are full. It’s made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and is fingerprint-proof, so you won’t have to spend time buffing smudges to keep it looking clean. All of these sparkling qualities put it on our list of the best trash cans. Available on Amazon .
Sink Utility Rack
Work more efficiently with the Kohler Sink Utility Rack. It has a removable cup to hold (or soak) utensils and a rail for the dishcloth, and the rack itself provides a convenient place to dry mugs and cups. The rack can expand by 3 inches, so it will fit most sinks, and it’s made of rust-resistant stainless steel and has a nonslip coating. Available from Home Depot .
Whether you’re in the kitchen or not, you don’t want ants roaming around. But it’s even worse in summer, when they tend to turn up in the kitchen—and you really don’t want to use pesticides in the room where you prepare meals and eat. EarthKind Stay Away Ants Repellent offers an environmentally friendly option. The pouches are made of nontoxic plant-based ingredients, such as peppermint, lemongrass, and thyme essential oils, that ants hate. Just remove the plastic covering and place one of the pouches in the kitchen or pantry to deter ants for up to 60 days. Available on Amazon.
Indoor Grill/Griddle/Panini Press
Summer is all about grilling, but some days it’s just too hot to tend to the barbecue outdoors. With the De’Longhi Combination Contact Grill and Open Barbecue, you can get all the tasty benefits of grilling outside in the air-conditioned comfort of your house. This large stainless steel indoor grill heats up quickly and has separate temperature controls that let you grill different foods at different temperatures, all at the same time. The grill’s five functions provide maximum flexibility: contact grill and panini press, open full grill, half grill, open full griddle, and half griddle. The appliance’s floating hinges and swappable grill and griddle plates allow you to cook everything from steaks, chicken, and hot dogs to paninis, veggies, and pancakes. The removable plates are nonstick and dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup. Available on Amazon.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!